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Posts Tagged ‘water lily’

Wishing you all a sense of inner peace as you begin a new week, something that we all need during these troubled times. That was definitely the feeling that enveloped me as I contemplated this beautiful water lily last Thursday at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens during a short photography expedition there with my friend Cindy Dyer.

water lily

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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There was only a single water lily in bloom at a pond at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge last week, but its beauty brightened the entire area and brought a smile to my face. Water lilies are one of the reasons why Claude Monet is one of my favorite painters.

Monet did some 250 oil paintings of water lilies (“Nymphéas” in French), many depicting the garden at his home in Giverny, and they were the main focus of his artistic production during the last thirty years of his like, according to Wikipedia.

 

water lily

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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During a visit yesterday to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia, I was reminded of my favorite artist—Claude Monet. During the last thirty years of his life, water lilies (Nymphéas in French) were the main focus of his artistic production. One of the museums that I most love visiting is the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, because it houses eight massive water lily murals by Monet in two specially-built oval rooms. It is incredibly peaceful to just sit in one of those rooms, surrounded by those amazing paintings.

I was delighted and a little surprised yesterday to see that some water lilies were already in bloom. There was a lot of vegetation surrounding the pond in which the beautiful flowers were floating, so there were some limits to my ability to compose my shots. Still, I am pretty happy with the images that I was able to capture.

Perhaps you will find yourself as captivated by the water lilies as I was.

Water lily

Water lily

water lily

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Water lilies are now blooming at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which recently has become my favorite place to explore with my camera.  Yesterday I could see lots of them in a distant pond that was not accessible. I was happy, though, to be able to capture this image of one that was just within range of my zoom lens.

Water lilies are so exquisite that a single bloom is sufficient to fill me with a sense of beauty and tranquility. Is it any wonder that water lilies were the main focus of Monet’s artistic production during the last thirty years of his life?

water lily

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I just love the vibrant colors of the tropical water lilies at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, like this one that I photographed on Sunday during a brief trip there. These gardens, located in a part of Washington D.C.,  are run by the National Park Service and have acres of ponds with all kinds of lotuses and water lilies. The tropical water lilies are in small cement ponds behind the visitor center and are one of my favorite spots to visit.

tropical water lily

tropical water lily

tropical water lily

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Safe inside the confines of an enormous lily pad, this little frog calmly watched the crowds of people last weekend in Washington D.C. at the Lotus and Water Lily Festival at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens.

frog on a lily pad

You can’t help but noticed that this is not your average lily pad. I believe that it is a tropical variety that comes from the Amazon River basin of the genus Victoria, possibly Amazonica victoria. According to Wikipedia, the leaves of this species can grow as large as 10 feet in diameter (3 meters), although this one was probably less than three feet (one meter) in size. Clearly it had no problem supporting the weight of the little frog.

Readers who follow my photography know that I love to try to get in close to my subjects, irrespective of whether I am shooting with a telephoto lens or a macro lens, and this was no exception. There was a waist-high wire fence around the cement pond in which the water lilies were growing, so I had some limitations in framing my shots, but did manage to get this shot of the frog looking over the edge of lily pad.

frog on a lily pad

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

 

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Dragonflies are colorful and flowers are colorful too, but it’s rare that I get to see the two of them together. I was thus thrilled when fellow photographer Cindy Dyer spotted a colorful Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis) perching on a beautiful purple water lily during our recent trip to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in the District of Columbia.

I took some initial shots with the 180mm macro lens that I had on my camera at that moment, but wasn’t really able to fill the frame with my subject and the background was a little distracting. (The second photo below was one of those first shots and it does a pretty good job of highlighting the water lily, but the dragonfly is merely an added bonus.) I couldn’t physically move any closer, because the water lilies were in a cement pond, surrounded by a three foot high wire fence.

I decided to change to a longer lens, though I sincerely doubted that the dragonfly would stay in place. Almost all of the times that I have done a rapid lens change in the field, the subject has departed before I was ready to shot. In this case, however, I got lucky and the Blue Dasher held his perch long enough for me to get a few shots with my 70-300mm lens.

I simply love the color combination of the different shades of blue of the dragonfly and the purple and yellow of the water lily.

Blue Dasher

Blue Dasher

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

 

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Yesterday morning I made a quick trip to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in Washington D.C. with fellow photographer Cindy Dyer to check out the water lilies and lotuses. Many of the pathways in the park are flooded or muddy, thanks to a significant amount of recent rain. Wet feet, however, were a small price to pay to see so many beautiful flowers, including the two spectacular pink water lilies that I am featuring today.

Stay tuned for more water lily and lotus images later this week.

pink water lily

pink water lily

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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One of the highlights of last weekend’s trip with some friends to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia was the giant lily pads outside of the glass-encased conservatory. I think they are from the Victoria genus of water lilies (possibly Victoria amazonica) which, according to Wikipedia, can grow to almost ten feet in diameter and support a weight of up to 70 pounds.

The turtle in the background was a bonus—I didn’t even realize that it was there until I looked at my images on my computer.

giant_lily1_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Some amazingly beautiful water lilies were in bloom at a local garden yesterday morning and seemed to be glowing from within.

Green Spring Gardens is a county-run historic garden just a few miles from where I live. I used to shoot there really often, but have been spending more time instead at my local marshland park. A couple of recent postings by Rob Paine on his blog I see beauty all around reminded me of the beauty of this garden and I spent several hours there yesterday, getting shots, primarily of the water lilies, lotus flowers, and dragonflies.

This image is a sneak preview of yesterday’s shoot, with more to follow in the near future.

lily1_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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To crop, or not to crop—that is the question. At a certain point in time when we are processing our images, we are all come face to face with this question. To some photographers, composing perfectly in the camera is the ultimate virtue, and they take pride in the fact that they do not crop (and object when their images are cropped).

Moose Peterson is one prominent photographer who does not crop and he explained his views in a fascinating blog posting in 2012 entitled, “The Crop Revisited.” I am still pondering one of his conclusions, “When you don’t give yourself the option to “fix it in post,” photographers push themselves. This always make a better click and the story telling, the subject, that passion of that click becomes clearer and clearer.”

Most of us could not live with such a high standard and for various reasons we choose to crop. I am so used to cropping my images that even when I compose an image just the way that I want it, I am tempted to move in closer with my crop. That was my dilemma with this image of a damselfly on the edge of a lily pad, as it was framed when it came out of the camera.

damsel_pad_blogI really like the long sinuous curve on the left and the large expanse of green on the right. I worry, however, that the damselfly is taking up too little space of the image and is not prominent enough. So I cropped a bit and produced a second version.

damsel_pad_crop_blog

That’s not a very extreme crop, but somehow the image feels different to me. Does it make any difference to you? Do you prefer one of the two over the other?

UPDATE: Fellow blogger and local dragonfly expert, Walter Sanford, has identified this for me as an Eastern Forktail damselfly (Ischnura verticalis). Thanks, Walter.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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A bee landed on a petal of this purple water lily and, rather than heading for the center of the flower, the obvious source for pollen, decided to crawl down in between the petals.

I followed his movements and, after a short time, those movements ceased—I think he was stuck. Eventually the plant began to move again, this time more violently. Slowly the bee reemerged, crawling slowly up the petal, and I took this shot.

I find the tones of this image to be very soothing and purple is one of my favorite colors. If you too like purple, check out today’s postings called Violetta at Calee Photography, one of my favorite blogs.

crawling_out_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Have you noticed that I really like purple water lilies? I was so struck by their beauty the first time that I saw one last year that a purple water lily appears at the top of my blog most of the time.

Earlier this week, as I was visiting Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland,  I came across an area in which two types of purple, tropical water lilies were growing. My photography mentor, Cindy Dyer, always recommends photographing the little signs that identify flowers and other plants and these water lilies were called “Panama Pacific” and “Blue Beauty.”

As I was photographing one of the waterlilies—I think it was a Panama Pacific—a bee dove headfirst into the center of the flower. Even before the bee arrived, I had noticed that the center of the water lily seemed to be glowing and that was what I was trying to capture by underexposing the shot. If you click on the photo, you can see a higher resolution view of the image, which shows an almost three-dimensional view of the flower’s center.

diving_blog© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I love all water lilies, but somehow the pink ones had a special attraction for me this past weekend, when I visited Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, a wonderful treasure in the District of Columbia administered by the National Park Service. The surrounding lily pads and the duckweed in the foreground really help to showcase the delicate beauty of this flower.

pink_lily_crop_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Although it was hot and steamy this morning when I traveled to Kenilworh Aquatic Gardens in the District of Columbia with some friends, the gorgeous lotuses and water lilies in bloom made the trip worthwhile.

Most of the water lilies were white or pink, but in one area they had these especially beautiful purple water lilies. This photo is the first installment of several postings that I plan to do of the dragonflies and flowers that I managed to photograph today.

purple_lily1_crop_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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